Strengthen Your Core: 5 Skills Every Professional Needs

Posted February 29, 2012

Strengthening your core skills Sure, your specialized skills can get you in the game, but your underlying core skills are what will help you score.

What exactly are core skills? They’re practical, universal human skills that every successful professional needs on a day-to-day basis. All jobs require these in some way.

Here’s the tricky part: They’re not always listed in the job description. The skills listed below are much less obvious than that, which is why many professionals overlook them.

Use this to your advantage!

1. Marketing Yourself

Hate to break it to you, but we’re all in sales. Regardless of your profession, if you’re looking for someone to pay you for your skills, you have to sell yourself.  Embrace this. Channel your inner marketer. Convince them why you’re the best buy hire they’ll find.

It’s a lot easier said than done, says Nicole Williams, bestselling author of three books, including Girl on Top: Your Guide to Turning Dating Rules into Career Success.

“We can all yap on for hours about a particular brand or client but when it comes to our accomplishments – most of us freeze up,” Williams says.

So, master your personal pitch. Talk about your achievements and interests. Just a 30-second spiel about why you’re legit and awesome. But remember a huge part of marketing yourself is making sure you are …

2. Web-Savvy

If you’re not Google-able, “employers will think you are archaic or afraid of technology,” Williams says. So, creating professional online social profiles is a given.

Web 2.0 savvy-ness is something that can supplement any profession.   Here’s a tip on keeping your social media skills updated: Follow social media gurus on Twitter and get into a habit of reading the great how-to articles they Tweet on the daily. If you need a starting point, check out our go-to Social Media Experts list. Once you get the hang of establishing a stellar web presence, sharpen your …

3. Networking Skills

It goes hand in hand with being able to communicate effectively and small talk to build rapport.  “If there’s any single thing you can do to make a difference in your career, it is to put yourself out there and network,” Williams says.

She makes the excellent point that you can find opportunities through relationships: “I can guarantee that if you’re stuck in your career, you don’t have enough of them.”

You never know when you might meet someone important, in which case be prepared to blow them away by your ...

4. Strong Analytical Skills

It’s becoming an important part of nearly every job description. It makes sense – this era is dubbed the technological or information age for a reason.

FlexJobs Founder and President Sara Sutton Fell puts it best when she says:  “Our economy is generally overwhelmingly information and service-based, so job seekers need to be open to learning new things, gathering and analyzing information critically.” Be able to process stuff in a smart way.

Whether it’s finance, traffic, markets—analyzing is a key step in working smarter in any type of business. One of the best ways to work on your analytical skills is to “be the professional who is up for everything, and learn by doing,” Fell says.

Keep finding projects that require some sort of analysis “put those skills to use on a regular basis.”

But of course, after you’ve worked out issues in your head, you need to be able to…

5. Write Effectively

And by “effectively” we mean in a way that gets your point across. Even if your job description doesn’t require writing on a regular basis, there’s no avoiding it. Nearly all professions require some sort of writing at some point, whether its emails, proposals, reports, cover letters.

Learn how to get your point across in words. A lack of solid writing skills could lead to miscommunication and, frankly, can just make you sound bad.

Have trouble with grammar? Check out the Grammar Girl podcast – they offer 10-minute “quick and dirty tips” on common grammar issues.  Other helpful tactics to improve writing skills is to read your work out loud. Also, it never hurts to ask someone else to review it first.

photo of The CareerBliss Team

The CareerBliss Team

CareerBliss cares about your career happiness. That's why we offer a variety of great tools and resources to help you make better-informed career decisions. We believe that if you're happier at work, you'll be happier in life! Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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